[ubuntu-uk] Who writes this stuff - the offical reply [long post]

Matthew Macdonald-Wallace matthew at truthisfreedom.org.uk
Wed May 23 15:57:01 BST 2007


Apologies for the top-post, please find below the entirety of my  
conversation with Mr Scargill.

I hope that you don't take the top-email to personally!

my comments are at the end.


Sure - I CANNOT get into debate with these guys however... there are a  
million forums on a million subjects and if one got into all of them,  
life would be over before one got anything done.



-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew Macdonald-Wallace [mailto:matthew at truthisfreedom.org.uk]
Sent: 23 May 2007 14:31
To: Peter Scargill
Subject: RE: Linux - v - Windows

Dear Mr Scargill,

Thank you for your reply.  I have to say that I respect and understand
your point of view although I may not necessarily agree with it!

You article has inspired a heated debate about the use of Linux and
Open Source applications on the desktop on the Ubuntu-UK mailing list
and I was wondering if you would object to me posting your reply to my
email onto that list to put forward your views?

Kind regards,


Quoting Peter Scargill <Peter.Scargill at fsb.org.uk>:

[Hide Quoted Text]
> Good afternoon
> Some comments - slightly buried - as you've sent this email in plain  
>  text and I assume you prefer this...
>> Dear Mr Scargill,
>> I read your article on "Linux - v - Windows" with great interest.
>> I have been using Linux on my home desktop for the last seven  
>> years.  Before that, I used Dos, Windows (all versions up to XP)  
>> and I also  dabbled with Mac OS pre OSX.
>> I am in a fairly unusual position with regard to choice of  
>> operating  system as I run my own servers at home, however I work  
>> on a daily   basis supporting Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft  
>> Office along   side many other applications.
> As do I...
>> The main point in your article that really challenged me was your    
>> comment that "you simply cannot even BEGIN to compare the    
>> functionality of Open Office with Office 2007".  I believe that  
>> this  is not the case, the change in interface in Office 2007 is  
>> enough,   in my considered and experienced opinion, to put most  
>> people off using
>> it.
> My considered and experienced position suggests that this is utterly  
>  and completely incorrect. Everyone who I know who has moved to    
> Office 2007, after spending a few minutes getting over the change of  
>  look and feel - thinks it is wonderful - indeed, so much so that    
> internally within the organisation we're fitting all new machines    
> with Office 2007.  I've used every version of office and Open Office  
>  and so I'm speaking from experience. I used Office 2007 every  
> single  day and have done since the final beta. I go all the way  
> back to the  first version of office, WordPerfect 7 before it and  
> various really  chronic editors before that. I also use EDIT and JOE  
> to program up  my Tivo in Linux.
>>  People have used Office in its various incarnations for several    
>> years now, Open Office has a similar interface to Office 2003 and    
>> all previous versions and is therefore more "user friendly" as it    
>> does not require a shift in work-flow practices or knowledge within  
>>   the workplace.
> The changed in Office 2007 are trivial to master and everyone seems   
>  to find it fun. Open Office may bear some superficial similarities   
>  of Office 2003 (ie the menus) but there is more to consider than  
> the  interface. The assumption that Microsoft would spend millions  
> on one  of their core products to make it LESS user-friendly beggars  
> belief.  They have beta-tested this on countless members of the  
> public and I  think it would be logical to assume that if the new  
> look and feel  was not popular they would have binned it. Personally  
> I think it's  the best thing they've done to Office - opening up  
> features that  have for the longest time been buried in complexity.
>> I am also interested to know which functionality Open Office is    
>> missing.  I have recently suggested to a number of charity    
>> organisations and small businesses that they switch to Open Office   
>>  and the ones that have done so have not found any issues with    
>> reading, writing or formatting any of the documents that they had    
>> previously saved in Microsoft Office.
> Compatibility with Office is of COURSE vital but it is not the    
> be-all and end-all. A Skoda is compatible with other cars - they    
> have doors, you can drive part of the journey in one and part of the  
>  journey in another - they take the same fuel - so why doesn't    
> everyone drive a Skoda. Because other cars may be better?
> The Microsoft products integrate well together - and they integrate   
>  into Sharepoint. Outlook for many is a central source of  
> information  - and with Exchange (all of which comes in the Small  
> Business   Server) allows a level of freedom of movement of  
> information - for   example in our offices we use Sharepoint to  
> store all manner of   information - on the road I can access  
> information on my mobile and   even have my secretary update that  
> information for me from anywhere.  She could be out of the office  
> updating said info - and so could I -  and yet I'd still get up to  
> date information. Are you aware of Small  Business server and what  
> it can do - including integration with  mobile phone, webmail,  
> Sharepoint, Office 2003 onwards... if not, I  suggest you take a  
> look - you cannot comment on something without  understanding the  
> bigger picture.
> Ok, so to some specifics...
> 1. Powerpoint 2007 - show me equivalent quality presentations in    
> Open Office or similar - that's anti-aliased, quality graphics and    
> text. I just don't see it.
> 2. Outlook - show me a similar package with similar connectivity to   
>  Exchange - and to the mobile phones, not just for email but for    
> contacts, tasks and calendars - and webmail with Exchange -    
> including shared calendars etc... not in Open Office you won't.
> 3 Word - the new interface in my view is far better than before and   
>  becomes the new standard - is this available in Open Office?
>> The only issue I have encountered is with custom animations in    
>> PowerPoint presentations.  As I am fairly confident that at least    
>> 90% of PowerPoint users do not use this custom animations, I am at  
>> a  loss   to find this lack of functionality.
> Last time I checked, Open office graphics were awful, not properly    
> anti-aliased, limited in scope - you really do need to take a look    
> at the Office 2007 version - this is not just about a menu system,    
> they have dramatically improved the graphic and text quality    
> (particularly text) - and as for animations - I don't use them but    
> I've seen Powerpoints with them in.
>> There are a number of businesses that have adopted Open Source    
>> technologies in all market sectors at both the server and desktop    
>> level, so I fail to see how your article can imply that Linux is  
>> not   ready for the desktop.
> The above paragraph is a little confused - there are many open    
> source technologies that have nothing to do with Linux - why do    
> people always tie the two together. There are some excellent open    
> source projects - some of which I use - and Sourceforge is an    
> excellent source - I just personally think that switching to another  
>  operating system for the sake of it is plain daft - only a TINY    
> percentage of business have done this on the desktop - less even    
> than the small number of MAC users.
> And you seem to mix up Linux and Open Office a lot - Open Office    
> doesn't need Linux to operate - it works quite well on Windows XP -   
>  but then, Microsoft don't have any monopoly on Office - the    
> operating system comes with the computer -Office usually does not -   
>  it is usually purchased separately and clearly an awful lot of    
> people choose to spend their money on Office than on other packages   
>  - this is not my opinion - this is back up by survey after survey    
> including our own.
>> With regard to support, one of the amazing things about Open Source  
>>   software is that not only is the software free, so is the support.
> No it isn't - businesses don't have time to go fishing around in    
> support forums - they need someone to come out and fix the problem -  
>  or do it by remote control - this is NOT free.
>> Frequently I find that if I post a request for support onto the user forums
> You need go no further - you are INTERESTED and therefore happy to    
> go to online support forums - what if the computer doesn't connect    
> to the web - what if you use computers as a business tool and don't   
>  WANT to spend your time on forums - or have no idea how to use a    
> forum anyway. We have forums online and only a tiny number of    
> members choose to use them.
>> I would be very interested in your comments on the above and I look  
>>   forward to hearing from you.
> I'm always willing to chat with folks with different views- and    
> yours are quite valid - but if you don't mind my saying you are    
> making a mistake that many, many folks do - the majority of business  
>  people don't want to know about support forums - they don't want to  
>  learn something new, they don't want to worry about compatibility -  
>  and here's the rub... you're looking for staff at the agency - I    
> wonder how many staff are available with "working experience of    
> Linux and Open Office" - as against "Microsoft Office" - I think I    
> know the answer.
> So - Ubuntu is great - as far as it goes - Open Office is becoming    
> viable - and competition is wonderful - but in my view, Microsoft    
> have responded to the competition - they've brought out Vista - and   
>  Office 2007 - that is what they are supposed to do - compete... I    
> don't need to tell you which side of the fence are going to get the   
>  vast majority of sales.
> Best Regards
> Peter Scargill

Interesting thoughts, I don't agree, but then again, I think that he  
may be a fan of MS to the point where he will not change.  It is my  
belief that people who hold the same beliefs as Peter are not the  
people we should be targeting and trying to convert, it's the ones who  
have doubts about MS and it's functionality.

Go for the easy win and quietly build up the client base, then attack  
with the statistics that x number of users are more at home and more  
productive with Ubuntu that Vista...


Matthew Macdonald-Wallace
Group Co-Ordinator
Thanet Linux User Group
matthew at truthisfreedom.org.uk
GPG KEY: http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0xFEA1BC16

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